Pune: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has begun the probe into alleged irregularities in Waqf land dealings across the state. The Waqf (endowment by a Muslim for a charitable cause) property is utilised for social purpose and welfare of the community and as per law, it cannot be sold or purchased.
The government statistics suggest that Maharashtra has around 93,418 acres of waqf land and out that around 70 per cent are under illegal occupation, encroached upon or transferred.
Earlier in May, the government had announced in the Legislative Assembly that the CID will investigate the cases. AIMIM MLA Imtiaz Jaleel had raised the issue of misuse of Waqf lands.
According to officials from Pune-headquartered CID, documents related to hundreds of Waqf properties are being collected and scrutiny is going on.
State CID Chief Sanjay Kumar said, "We are conducting an enquiry into all Waqf land dealings as per orders of the government." However, no FIR has been registered yet as the probe is at the initial stage.
Saleem Mulla of Maharashtra Waqf Liberation Task Force, told Sakal Times, "The Waqf lands are situated at prime locations and they are worth lakhs of crores, which if utilised properly, can benefit the community immensely. Consider the 46.06 acres land at survey number 55 in Kondhwa, which has been sold several times by people with vested interest. This land alone is worth hundreds of crores. Many builders, businessmen, journalists etc have illegally purchased land from trustees there.
In May this year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the additional chief secretary (home) and principal secretary (minority development) to take action in Kondhwa Waqf land scam.
State government statistics suggest that Maharashtra has around 93,418 acres of Waqf land spread over about 23,566 registered properties with the maximum in the Aurangabad division, which was part of the dominion of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Earlier this year, the government allotted funds of about Rs 5 crore for a physical survey of all Waqf properties in the State.